Last in a series of stories chronicling the NFL draft process of former Ohio State defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes.


Jalyn Holmes finally heard the sound for which he’d waited years and invested so much.

But it came after a difficult night.

Only two picks into the fourth round of the NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected the former Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman with the 102nd overall pick. For the previous year and a half, Holmes’ ringtone for his morning wakeup was the chime on TV that accompanies a new draft pick. It helped get him out of bed for 5 a.m. workouts.

A few minutes after noon on April 28, that chime tolled for him.

“It was worth the wait,” he said.

He says that now. The previous night was a tough one. The Ohio State defensive end figured he’d go in the middle rounds, but closer to the beginning than the end.

That meant he could watch the first round without much anxiety. He was happy for teammates Denzel Ward and Billy Price when they were taken. But the next night, during the second and third rounds, Holmes became increasingly edgy. Linemates Tyquan Lewis went to Indianapolis with the last pick of the second round and Sam Hubbard to Cincinnati in the third.

Holmes had a draft party with about 40 family members and friends at a beach house in his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia. They all kept trying to lift his spirits. As the night wore on, Holmes’ patience ran out.

“I was just trying to keep myself together and keep my composure,” he said. “It was hard. I was cool up until the third round. When the third round came and my name still hadn’t been called and my phone wasn’t called, it was rough to watch. I didn’t even watch the end. I just went outside by myself and waited for someone to call my phone. When nobody did, I just went back to my room and went to bed.”

He fell asleep quickly but not for long. When he awoke the next morning, he just hoped his name would come off the board quickly.

It did. The Vikings called even before the day’s first pick was announced. Coach Mike Zimmer asked him a simple question: Are you ready to be a Minnesota Viking?

By the time Holmes heard the chime with his name attached, it came as no mystery. It was still a thrill.

Before the draft, Holmes and his representatives put together a list of NFL teams divided into three categories based on desirability. The Vikings were on the A list. They have a respected coach in Zimmer and line coach in Andre Patterson. They reached the NFC title game last season. He’ll be reunited with a former OSU teammate, center Pat Elflein.

“Obviously, I can’t learn from him football-wise because we’re different positions,” Holmes said, “but he’s a guy you can look up to off the field.”

As for the weather, well, you can’t have everything. Holmes was a little-used freshman when Ohio State played the Minnesota Golden Gophers in November 2014 in 15-degree weather and snow.

“That was one game I didn’t want to travel to,” Holmes said with a laugh. “I did not want to be on the traveling squad for that game.”

Now he’ll return to the Twin Cities as a professional. Holmes sees it as a sign — or at least a happy coincidence — that when he packed for the trip home, he packed only one team’s T-shirt of the many he got from teams at the NFL combine. Yes, a Vikings shirt.

Now the real work starts. Holmes believed Ohio State, particularly Urban Meyer and defensive line coach Larry Johnson, prepared him well. Now he has to prove it.

“It’s a great team, a great defensive line, a great defense,” Holmes said. “If I want to come in and play I have to raise my level to their level. I’m looking forward to that.”

For the past four years, Holmes and his OSU teammates have been as close as brothers. Soon they will spread out around the country to chase NFL dreams.

“It’s going to be real emotional,” Holmes said of their parting. “But those guys, they’re going to do well. We’ve got a great bond. We’ll never stop talking.”